As part of its efforts to halt the alarming decline of traditional orchards, conservation charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species has launched an online Planning Protection Toolkit (, which is designed to help individuals and communities protect orchards and other wildlife-rich sites when development threatens.

Since the 1950s the UK has lost around 90% of traditionally managed orchards, and nearly half of those left are in a poor condition. The root causes for the decline are neglect, conversion to modern intensive farming methods, cheaper imports from abroad, and development.

PTES Orchard Biodiversity Officer Steve Oram said: “Habitat conservation is one of our top priorities at PTES, and orchards are frequently in the crosshairs of development, so we created the Planning Protection Toolkit to help individuals or communities mount a strong defence.”

The Toolkit is part of a suite of resources developed by PTES to promote good orchard management. These include:

• a series of practical guides and videos to encourage orchard owners to manage their orchards in a way that is sympathetic to wildlife and that helps improves their condition, covering everything from pruning and grafting fruit trees to grass management;

• FruitFinder, a searchable online database of fruit varieties, including where to buy native or heritage varieties;

• a grants scheme to help individuals or community groups plant new trees on their sites and improve habitat condition;

• the PTES Traditional Orchard and Fruit Tree Survey apps, which can be downloaded for free from your usual sources;

• an online community orchard map, which people can search for their nearest community orchard.

These resources are available online at

Fruity Facts

• Traditional orchards provide excellent conditions for wildlife to thrive and are home to at least 1800 species of wildlife

• 402 species of saproxylic invertebrates – insects that are dependent on dead wood - have been recorded in traditional orchards to date, including 102 Red Data Book or nationally scarce species such as the noble chafer beetle

• One study of Herefordshire’s traditional orchards recorded eight of the 19 bird species in the government’s ‘quality of life farmland bird indicator’ list, and 16 of the 33 woodland species in the equivalent woodland indicator list

• There are over 100 perry pear varieties in Gloucestershire and some of the more colourful names of the perry drink produced vividly describe their potential effect: Merrylegs; Mumblehead; Lumberskull; Drunkers and Devildrink

• You could eat a different variety of English apple every day for over 6 years without eating the same one twice

• The apple is Britain’s national fruit and botanically are members of the rose family